Ready to Travel? Here’s How Quickly You Can Be on Assignment


A lot of travel healthcare professionals – especially those starting out – can’t wait to get out on the road and start working their gig.

But how long does it take to go from responding to an opening to your first day on the travel job?

Using travel nursing as an example, it typically takes one to five weeks to land an assignment.  However, a host of variables affect the length of time it takes to actually get started. As a result, it can take less than a week in some cases and much longer in others.

So keeping in mind that the rule of thumb for a traveler is to be prepared, here are some tips to make sure you’re ready to hit the road ASAP.

Don’t Wait: Get your Documentation Ready

For any traveling healthcare pro, it’s a good idea to begin sending in documents as soon as your file moves to active status. That means things like physicals, immunization records, etc. The faster you get those documents on file, the less stressful the process will be.

For example, once a traveler’s file is presented for an assignment, a hiring manager will often make an offer based on what he or she sees –  without an interview. That’s why getting all of your work history, professional references and other docs to your recruiter and accurately filling out a skills checklist is so important.

Licensing Can Affect How Long It Takes to Start a Travel Assignment

Licensing is a big factor in determining how long it will take to start a travel healthcare job. You can only work in the states you’re licensed, and in most cases, hospitals require proof of state licensure in order to consider a candidate.

In rare cases, hospitals will consider job seekers who aren’t already licensed in their state (Hospitals in “walkthrough states” are typically the only hospitals to allow this.) Obtaining licenses in advance for states where you’d like to work is a critical component to overcome this issue.

Some states, like California, have many opportunities for short-term travel assignments, but the licensing process can take several months.  A good healthcare recruiter can be extremely helpful for travelers who have questions about state licensing times and can help job applicants start an assignment quickly.

Flexibility Can Speed Up the Process

Keeping your options open is one of the biggest factors in determining how long it’ll take to get a travel job. For example, if you’re willing to take an assignment anywhere at any pay rate, you’ll be able to get an assignment much quicker than if you’re willing to take jobs only in a particular city with top pay. The same can be said for flexibility as it pertains to shifts, working conditions, PTO, other employment-related variables.

Many newcomers to traveling tend to believe that there are always jobs available in their desired locations. And it’s true that the job market for healthcare professionals, in general, is very strong. However, the travel healthcare job market is fluid and often competitive – and being flexible offers the potential for greater success. The more options you have, the faster you’ll be able to land – and get started – on your travel job.

At Focus Staff, we understand the ins and outs of traveling healthcare professionals during these challenging times and have access to a wide variety of excellent professional opportunities. To learn more, contact us today.


Would you like to be alerted when new jobs are posted?